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Panasonic provides safe environment for US hotel

Panasonic provides safe environment for US hotel
The San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel is one block off Market Street in the SoMa district just minutes by foot from some of the city’s main attractions including Union Square, Moscone Center, Yerba Buena Gardens and AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

Its unbeatable location near top downtown San Francisco landmarks, museums and shopping destinations make it a bustling hotel with an open floor plan serving more than a million guests each year. The 39 floor Marriott Marquis houses over 1300 rooms, 138 suites, and 59 meeting rooms. The sprawling hotel property spans over 90,000 square feet and caters primarily to corporate events and meetings as well as tourists visiting the Bay Area from all over the world.

“For the most part, the Marriott Marquis does not have any significant security issues; but San Francisco is known as a city friendly to the homeless and for a hotel property in the heart of downtown, it can create security challenges that impact the overall customer experience for visitors and hotel guests.

“We're a huge property. It’s tough to cover it all and we can’t be everywhere at once,” explains Brian Thibault, Loss Prevention Lead at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. “Occasionally we have missing property and vandalism issues. One of our biggest challenges is the fact that we have a lot of homeless trying to come in, and keeping them out can be difficult because we’re so big and have so many entrance points.”

Yama Anwary, the Director of Loss Prevention at the Marriott Marquis says anything that effects the guest experience is a concern.

“Other security concerns are credit card fraud. We’ve had individuals using someone else’s credit card to pay for rooms or open a tab; and we also see prostitution occasionally. Regulars that come in at night and go to the well-known View Lounge on the top-floor to solicit guests in the hotel,” he says.

Anwary is a significant figure in the business of security and law enforcement. He’s been with the Marriott for 17 years, a cop with the Fremont Police Department for 19 years and also serves as the chief advisor for the Directors of Security Association for San Francisco, which meets monthly to share best security practices.

The hotel has a 100-plus camera security system in place, but security officers can't keep an eye on all of them at all times. So, Marriott Marquis partnered with STAC Systems and Panasonic to develop a pilot program of its WV-ASF900 FacePro Facial Search and Recognition System beginning in March 2016.

FacePro is a unique server-based facial recognition and analytics platform that provides facial search and matching capabilities on realtime video streams from Panasonic's i-PRO cameras. The FacePro system automatically performs high-speed searches using live or recorded source video or imported digital images to match against a database of up to 1,000 registered faces. It can match persons of interest moving through the hotel by cross referencing the images captured against a list of banned persons that have had previous contact with the Marriott Marquis' security team. Once a person of interest is matched, it acts as extra sets of eyes and ears, sending an alert to security officers.

FacePro is a unique server-based facial recognition and analytics platform that provides facial search and matching capabilities on realtime video streams from Panasonic's i-PRO cameras.

To support the system, a half-dozen Panasonic 6 Series i-PRO cameras have been installed. Four cameras in the Marriott Marquis’ lobby facing the front entrance: two WV-SPN631 Super Dynamic Full HD Cameras, and two WV-SPN611 Super Dynamic HD Cameras. At the hotel’s back entrance, two additional i-PRO cameras have been installed, the WV-SFV631LT Super Dynamic Full HD Vandal Resistant & Waterproof Long Focus-Type Dome Network Camera. Utilizing the advanced imaging capabilities of Panasonic’s Full HD and HD i-PRO cameras, the surveillance data from all six cameras is recorded to a dedicated server that sits behind the front desk and is managed by security staff.

Marriott Marquis Loss and Prevention staff say they wanted to take a more proactive approach. “The big difference with the addition of FacePro is the system is searching for faces all the time,” explains Thibault. “Even with 100 plus cameras throughout the hotel, we can’t monitor all of them all the time. FacePro is an additional tool, it’s like having somebody else available to focus just on that and smart enough to remember thousands of faces.”

The registered list currently contains 100 people the hotel’s security officers have registered as having trespassed, or who have been restricted from entering the property over the past year. Even if trespassers are given a warning, many still return to the hotel and security often finds them in meeting rooms, stairwells, and ballrooms. Since the pilot program started two months ago, these individuals’ photos are being fed into the system.

Edgar Espanol is a Loss Prevention Lead Officer working the day shift: “We’ve had people that enter conference rooms and take laptops cell phones, anything that’s not locked down.”

Now, a security officer can log into the FacePro system to review live or recorded footage from the i-PRO cameras. Other source files can also be entered into the system including other surveillance images, mug shots, or even photos from cell phone cameras. If the FacePro system identifies a match of someone entering the facility from the registered list, it sends an alarm to the security officers, notifying them that a person of interest is in the hotel.

“We’re continuing to work and refine the system,” explains Anwary. “Our hotel is often chosen for pilot programs because of our location. If a person of interest walks in front of our cameras and we can effectively identify and catch them before they create an issue, that’s a plus for the hotel and its guests and for the city of San Francisco.”

Anwary says police from his department are excited with the technology. Law enforcement see facial recognition technology as an opportunity and something that can be used in other hotels, shopping centers and other public locations. “We believe we are the first hotel in the city piloting the facial recognition system.”

As the interview with Anwary was being conducted an incident took place at the Marriott Marquis.

Loss and Prevention Swing Shift Supervisor Jose Dayrit apprehended a repeat trespasser. “This guy has been verbally trespassed before in our health club. We trespassed him again today in the business office where he was trying to use the computer,” Dayrit recounts. “With all the people we kick out, we can’t possibly remember all of them. Now, we can upload his picture into the system and if he comes back again, he is going to jail.”

“It’s a great tool. Trust me from a law enforcement standpoint, it’s a plus for any director of security in any city,” says Anwary.

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